I rarely write two columns on the same subject let alone in two consecutive weeks, but what we have here is some breaking news, as if that hackneyed expression isn’t used enough.
No sooner had word gotten out I was writing last week’s column on the Methodist Pie Festival than I was offered a judgeship. There is no denying the power of the press. My whole life I have wanted to wear the long black robes. Being a mayor is one thing, but a judge—now we’re talking.
Yes, I, Burt Ross, a Malibu resident for only nine months, was asked to judge the pie contest last Saturday, and I took my responsibility most seriously. Coming from New Jersey, I immediately made it clear I could be bought. Strangely, there were no takers. Apparently the people of Malibu believe their pies can stand on their own merits and don’t need a little insider influence.
I didn’t even have to pay for the judgeship. Pastor Sandy Liddell offered it to me without even suggesting that such an appointment warranted some greasing of the holy palm. When I was mayor I could have sold a judgeship for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, and that was back in the early 1970’s. (No I didn’t sell a judgeship, and had I, the statute of limitations expired over a generation ago.)
Not only did the Pastor not ask for anything for bestowing this great honor upon me, but she actually thanked me for accepting, “It is a joy to honor and thank our judges for a job well done. What a difference your service to the community makes.”
Can you believe it? I was actually thanked for eating pies! Life simply doesn’t get any better than this. For those of you who doubt the existence of a Supreme Being, let me assure you this is living proof that one exists, and all is good upon the Planet Earth.
Admittedly, the job of judging comes with great responsibility and stress. I now know the burden a judge carries when he must determine the guilt or innocence in a capital case, or when a judge in a heavyweight championship fight must decide who will be declared champion of the world.
The pressure was overwhelming when I filled out my scorecard and understood my palate had helped determine John Loy with his entry “Crack Pie” was best Meringue/Cream Pie baker of 2012. I assume it was called “Crack Pie” because once you have eaten it you become addicted to it.
We have come a long way when a Jew can be selected to judge a Methodist pie baking contest. The ecumenical spirit truly abounds here in Malibu. And by the way, until further notice, you can call me “Your Honor.” Thanks.